If I could create my dream festival I'd only sell tickets to Guardian-reading, 6Music-listening types, hopefully eliminating any "lad" culture or loutish behaviour. I'd book artists & bands who played non-mainstream music, alternative comedy, conceptual art trails, a woodland library and all manner of quirky workshops. There would be shops selling vintage clothes, books & vinyl, artisan silver jewellery, old fashioned sweets, exquisitely tailored British-made clothing and stalls offering tasty vegetarian street food from around the globe all run by non-corporate, independent traders. The festival would be set somewhere gorgeous with an ornamental lake and a magical forest, a walled garden with an ornate Victorian folly and peacocks proudly strutting across perfectly manicured lawns. Oh yeah...and the toilets would always be immaculately clean.
But I don't need to create my dream festival because it already exists in the form of End Of The Road (EOTR), a gloriously non-mainstream event set in the restored Victorian walled gardens of Augustus Henry Lane-Fox Pitt Rivers (1827 - 1900).
Thirty-two hours after leaving the Towersey Festival we were back on the road, making the three-and-a-half hour journey down to Dorset on Wednesday morning. We set up Kinky Melon's Retro Boutique's festival shop for the last time this season (in a record breaking six-and-a-half hours), reacquainted ourselves with our trader friends and fell into bed, fully clothed, a little after 9pm. Even the squawk of the macaws and the uncannily cat-like cries of the peacocks didn't stir us from our slumbers.
The next morning, after breakfast, we set off to explore the gardens. EOTR had been sold out for months and we were warned that trade would be monumentally busy so it was possibly the last chance we'd get to leave our pitch during daylight hours.
No peacocks to be seen but I did find a feather.
|WEARING: Vintage Dollyrockers maxi dress (Second to None, Walsall), Frye boots (eBay)|
The crew were busy putting the final touches to the set-up.
We left them to it and explored the forest....
|WEARING: Ramones sweatshirt, over-dyed green denim shorts, Doc Martens (all charity shopped), Leather cap (EOTR 2015)|
The library shelves were still almost bare, awaiting the return of the books loaned out to last year's festival goers.
The boat was a bar, busy being stocked ready for the woodland disco later.
After a couple of hours we strolled back, Jon got changed and we rolled up the shop front. The public were due to arrive on site at midday and we were ready for them.
|WEARING: 1960s wool waistcoat & tartan skinnies (Charity shopped), 1970s dinner shirt (nicked from the stock room)|
|The fake fur gang|
Our regular neighbours, Heidi, Sean & Amelie from Shilpa Silver (wait till I show you the earrings I had off them). It wouldn't be End Of The Road without them.
After a few sales to some super keen early birds, business kicked off properly when the first act took to the main stage just after 8pm (The Woods Stage is conveniently situated directly opposite our pitch). Trade was relentless and by midnight we were the only stall still open and selling.
|WEARING: ME: 1970s Gemini chiffon maxi (Judy's Affordable Vintage trader), Vintage sunglasses (Moseley Vintage Fair)|
JON: 1980s Gabicci silk shirt (Kinky Melon), Pink shorts (Retail)
When we rolled up the front on Friday morning there was already a queue of expectant shoppers. We were visited by customers dressed in clothes they'd bought off us in previous years as well as mates from home and also Ruth, a darling blog reader, her husband Brian and their hilarious kids who brought us homemade cake which was greedily demolished between sales.
|Two happy customers looking absolutely fab!|
Our neighbour was rendered speechless after he spotted a member of Friday night headliners, Aussie psych rockers Pond* popping into our stall to buy a 1960s pea coat.
This lovely guy is a regular visitor at lots of the festivals we trade at. He was hosting Friday night's karaoke and he'd bought this insane Cyberdog top from us at Towersey the previous weekend. At 11pm, after a punishing 13 hour shift, we rolled down the shop front, had a mug of tea & a Hobnob and went to bed. Rock 'n' Roll, huh?
|WEARING: ME: 1960s Indian embroidered maxi (ex-blogger Sabine's mum's), JON: Vintage Canadian cowboy shirt (vintage trader, Cornbury 2016)|
When we counted the takings the following morning we'd already exceeded the amount we'd taken last year and in 2015. We thought Saturday would be quiet, assuming that most of the customers who wanted vintage had already bought it but we were wrong. So much for pulling up a chair and basking in the sun, most of the day was spent inside, advising customers, chatting and bagging up their purchases. We didn't even crack open the booze till gone 3pm!
I left Jon in charge to watch Sinkane* storming the Woods Stage.
Then ran back when I saw how busy the shop was.
Remember these goats from last year's blog post? Nearly as cool as Martin the unicorn.
I was desperate to see Nadine Shah* and managed to catch her last song over on the Garden Stage.
I got back to find Jon doing brisk business in disco jackets.
This beauty came back to show us how great she looked in the silk crepe maxi dress she'd bought from us the previous day. She'd been after the perfect maxi for years. With Kinky's help she'd found it!
At 9pm, after an eleven hour shift we decided to close up and be proper festival goers.
We walked round to the Garden Stage and Ty Segall's* amazing set.
It doesn't matter how warm it is during the day, End of the Road is positively Baltic by night hence my two coats, alpaca mittens & legwarmers, sheepskin hat and full-on thermals under my maxi.
We wandered around the magically illuminated arts trail admiring the incredible paper flowers and birds suspended from the trees.
We pulled up a hay bale and watched the antics in the forest disco before heading off the the woodland karaoke where we marvelled at how many of the punters were wearing our stock.
We awoke on Sunday morning to torrential rain and high winds. The temperature had plummeted to single figures and, peeking out from behind the gap between the fence separating the stalls (yes, folks, EOTR spend money on security), there wasn't a soul to be seen. When we opened at 11am our first visitor was a lovely girl whose boyfriend's band, The Night Flowers*, were opening the main stage and was worried that nobody would be there to watch them so I pulled on my rain cape and went down to the front to give them some support.
She needn't have worried, they sounded great and, despite the weather, there was a decent crowd.
Unsurprisingly trade was painfully slow (although I've done vintage fairs far worse).
Mali duo, Amadou & Mariam*, were a welcome ray of sunshine.
We'd been looking forward to seeing The Jesus & Mary Chain* ever since they'd been announced as headliners back in February and they didn't disappoint. They were phenomenal. Having a pitch directly in front of the stage meant we had a brilliant view, perfect sound and managed to stay dry throughout the set.
Yesterday morning, after we'd we packed down, I did my usual trawl around the bins to see if I could find anything interesting and I did - an empty catering-sized can of Greek Pickled Peppers to use as a garden planter, a six foot industrial strength clothes rail (always useful), a heavy duty stainless steel hat stand (I've been hankering after one for years) and two 5 foot wrought iron lantern spikes - just as well we'd sold over half our stock and had enough room in the van!
And that was End Of The Road '17. Jon reckons it's better than Glastonbury, I'm still undecided. I'd suggest you go next year and judge for yourselves but the early bird tickets went on sale this morning and sold out within 35 minutes. That's even faster than Glasto!
|WEARING: 1950s Pendleton overcoat (Stockport's Vintage Village), Vintage Farahs (Squirrels Vintage, NZ), English-made Doc Marten Monkey boots (birthday pressie from me!)|
Although EOTR was our last festival of the season, it's not our last road trip. We're trading at the Classic Car Boot in London this weekend (details HERE), Gilbert needs a damn good clean before we restock and head down to the big smoke in the early hours of Saturday morning.
|Wearing: 1960s psych maxi (eBay, 2006), vintage suede coat (Second To None, Walsall), Sheepskin hat (Ex-blogger Christina), Vintage Derri Boots (jumble sale), Alpaca wrist warmers (EOTR 2015)|
See you soon!
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* There's a YouTube link to all the acts I've mentioned, just in case you fancy discovering some new music.